“Stupid people don’t always know that they’re stupid. They might be aware that something is wrong, they might notice that things don’t usually turn out the way they imagined, but very few of them think it’s because of them. That they’re the root of their own problems, so to speak. And that sort of thing can be very difficult to explain.”―Jonas Karlsson.
People are dumb. Wait, no, the phrase I’m looking for is actually “people are strange.” Well, how about both? There is no denying that there are some pretty dumb people out there—that’s something pretty obvious for those of us who spend a lot of time in public. There aren’t many things worse than overhearing people say something jaw-droppingly dumb and not being able to have a rebuttal. But, it happens to us all, and we’ve just got to accept people for who they are. And, maybe, just maybe, try talking them through their words. Here are some of the dumbest things people have heard someone else say, as told by Reddit.
47. What is the Closet Star?
I was at a trivia night, and the question was "What is the closest star to Earth?" As I'm writing the answer down my coworker says "Well it's either Venus or Sirius". I was stunned. "Well, one of those is a planet, and I'm pretty sure if there was a closer star than the Sun.... we'd know."
43. Veggie Pizza
My mother-in-law said she eats pizza for vegetables. She's a 400-lb., insulin dependent, hypertensive diabetic.
41. Making Meat Not Murder
My aunt still believes that meat from the grocery store doesn't come from animals so buying steak at Albertsons is completely ok but buying steak from a butcher is supporting cow murder.
40. Tropical Alaska
Had a friend ask me, while looking at a US map, how Alaska stays so cold when it’s located right next to Hawaii....
This was a map that displayed cutaways of both Hawaii and Alaska.
39. Explaining the Beauty of Native America
I was waiting in a very long line last year and got stuck next to a man in his mid-20s. I’m in my mid-30s and I’m a mix of Native American and Mexican. I have very distinct features and whenever I meet new people, one of the first three questions they ask is; “What are you?”
This guy asked me that question and I responded with Native American/Mexican mix. He looked at me and sincerely asked me “What is Native America like? I always wanted to go there.” I just decided to have some fun and told him it is beautiful and has lots of natural areas worth checking out.
38. Mirrors Are a Distraction
“I do not use my mirrors while driving.”
37. Oxygen Maps
"On a map, is the blue part the water or the sky?"
36. Lunar Lunacy
We were 18, on vacation, walking home after the first night there. She was staring at the moon for a bit and then she stops walking and asks her friend, “Is this the same moon we see back at home?”.
A part of me died that night.
35. Driving on Winter Mode
The snowflake button on her car's climate control was "Winter mode" for driving. She didn't think her car had air conditioning. She had owned it for years.
34. Fenced In
I moved to Idaho from Alabama. My cousin's wife (mid-20s) started texting me asking if she could come and visit sometime, because the way I described it sounded nice. I told her that would be perfectly okay. She asked if she could bring her grandma. Yes. She asked if they'd be allowed to leave if they didn't like it. Wait, hold the phone, what?
She again asked me if 'they' would allow her to leave. It took me a while to figure out what she was talking about. She was convinced that the entire state of Idaho was a fenced-in Mormon compound guarded by Latter Day Saints folks who regulated who came in and who left.
33. Sun Damage
I used to be a 911 dispatcher.
Someone called 911 because the sun was in their eyes on their way to work.
They wanted us to warn other people...that the sun was bright.
32. Turkey Emergency
Former 911 dispatcher here. Had a lady repeatedly call me on Thanksgiving wanting instructions on how to cook a turkey and everything. When I tried to explain that 911 was for emergencies she informed me it was an emergency because she had family coming over and had promised them a turkey dinner.
When officers arrived at her house to explain what 911 was for, she finally got it.
She still called back on Monday to complain to my boss that I was rude and dispatching officers to her home was completely uncalled for. He asked if she wanted to listen to any of the 12 recorded calls they had on her from that day. She hung up.
31. When Google Is NOT Your Friend
Legal studies major here. In one of my intro to American law classes, we had to prepare an oral presentation about an assigned Supreme Court Justice. Mine was Justice Stephen Breyer.
When the teacher handed out our slips of paper, every Justice was listed in the format "Justice (last name here)". Obviously, the whole class was expected to know that Justice was simply a title these people use.
Unfortunately, one boy in the class didn't know that. Homeboy was assigned Justice Anthony Kennedy. He got up in front of the class, passed around photos of some guy, and said "This is Justice Kennedy," and then proceeded to give a presentation on some guy whose name was literally Justice Kennedy. I don’t know how he found the dude, but he had some really personal information about some random guy who was definitely not an attorney or judge in any way.
The kid wasn't even flustered when the teacher said: "Who the hell is this guy?" He just sat down as if this was a daily occurrence.
It's been years and I still think about him sometimes.
30. The Tilapia Orchard
I worked at a restaurant for a while, and I once had a vegan order a parmesan tilapia. I told her that the parmesan tilapia wasn’t a vegan dish. She asked why, and I said “Tilapia is a fish. Parmesan is cheese, and therefore an animal product.”
She looks me dead in the face, scoffs, and turns to the people at her table and says. “Our server doesn’t know anything.” Then looks back at me. “Tilapia is a fruit. I’ve been to a Tilapia orchard... Parmesan, since you don’t know, is made from grinding eggplant root... How did you even get a job in a restaurant?”
I stared at her for a solid 10 seconds, trying to figure out if she was messing with me. She demanded the manager come to speak to her. She wasn’t joking.
“Tilapia Orchard” is now the name of my future band.
29. It’s Not Blood Loss if You Know Where You Left It
In some class in my freshman year of high school, we were talking about some historical figure who died by suicide in a bathtub. This girl raised her hand and asked “If you slit your wrists in a bathtub would you bleed to death?” The teacher is confused at the question and was just like “Yes... you would.” But the girl is like, “But all the blood would still be in the bathtub with you.” My teacher didn’t know what to say, she just sort of said, “Oh... honey...”
28. Moon Landing Truther
A girl I knew said and believed that if you left a cucumber outside of the fridge, it would melt as it was made out of mostly water.
Girl also thought that NASA wasn’t real and astronauts were fictional jobs.
27. The Road to Hawaii
In high school, a friend's parents got transferred to Hawaii (military), so they were moving. We lived in California. The prettiest but dumbest girl I knew asked, "So are you driving?"
When we laughed and pointed out that there was not a bridge between LA and Honolulu, she asked: "Well, how are the moving trucks going to get there?"
26. It Has Been Since 1970
I was at the airport flying from Colorado to Rhode Island with a layover in North Carolina. My phone died on the plane from Colorado to North Carolina—not a huge deal but my boarding pass is on my phone.
So I go to the help desk to try and have them print it out and there are 2 people working there at the time. They ask me where I'm heading so they can look it up I tell them I'm going to Rhode Island since I wasn't sure which airport it was. They then asked Rhode Island where. I gave them the town it was in.
They proceed to insist for the next ten minutes that Rhode Island is not a state. I said, "Uh, Rhode Island is definitely a state, I'm going there now." I was told I was being rude and they were no longer able to help me. Here’s to the two dumbest people I've ever met.
25. All Aboot It
So I'll weigh in with my North Carolina travel story. I’m in a convenience store buying coffee and snacks before a business trip to Canada, and small talking with the cashier about said business trip.
She said: "Must be hard in a different country, do you speak Canadian?"
My response was: "I'm OK at it. My Australian's much better."
She seemed satisfied.
24. Lingering Manifest Destiny
“I’ve never traveled outside the US, but I’ve been to Mexico”
23. They’re Called Prescription Glasses for a Reason
I told a coworker I ordered my glasses online, and she asked me how they got the medicine in them. When I pressed further, she explained that they put medicine in the lenses which the light carries to your eyes to make them better. She is a mother. This terrifies me.
22. Some MLK Confusion
After we watched a movie about the history of black people in America in English class, the teacher asked us what we think the biggest accomplishment for black people was in America. One student replied with: " I think the biggest accomplishment was that Martin Luther King became the first black president of the US." And no, it wasn't just a slip of tongue, she actually was convinced that Martin Luther King was the first black president, even though we just watched a documentary about exactly that topic…
21. Gravity’s Rainbow
Had a girl in my high school physics class ask, verbatim, “But if there’s gravity, then how do rainbows?”
Nobody even knew how to begin responding to that one.
20. Soup de Life
I had a lady complain, "I've had soup du jour before and this is NOT soup du jour!"
19. Stop Making Sense
A guy who liked to argue with everyone over inconsequential things said to me, "I can't follow your line of reasoning. You're putting the horse in front of the cart."
I said, "Yes. Exactly."
18. Telling Tails
A devout Christian I worked with, legitimately, 100%, without irony thought that all Jews—“real Jews,” in her words—were born with tails. Some had them removed to "blend in," others kept them hidden as a status symbol…
...but all Jews were born with tails.
I tried to explain to her that they weren't a different species and she got very defensive explaining that she wasn't a bigot because she didn't have anything AGAINST THEM, but yeah, they were indeed, if they were a REAL JEW, born with a tail.
Talked with a Jewish buddy and he confirmed that it's not that uncommon a belief.
...he didn't let me see his tail.
17. It’s Not All Chinese to Her
We were learning Chinese in school and my friend said that China was just a county that was part of the country Asia. I asked her what language people in Asia spoke, she told me they spoke Asian. I asked her why we were then learning Chinese, she said: “Oh, Chinese is like Latin, it’s pretty much a dead language.” I was baffled.
I brought it up to her recently and she got so defensive saying she was right and that we were just messing with her.
16. 60 Cents to a Dollar
My buddy thought that a dollar was 60 cents. He is in grade 10.
15. Problems with Fractions
Today we were studying fractions and percentages—basic, I know, but we were learning them in Spanish and Portuguese—and one girl INSISTED that 1/20 was more than 1/3, because the second number in the fraction is bigger. She also thought 1/20 = 20% and could not understand why that isn’t correct. We’re in our 20s.
14. Numbers Are Hard
I have two favorites.
One co-worker said... "Huh, it must be 32 degrees outside". I check my phone—no man, it's 17. He said no, it has to be 32. I said why is that? He said because it only snows when it's exactly 32 degrees... he's in his late 50s.
Another coworker... "I had to go to my kid's teacher conference yesterday. She said my daughter doesn't know all 26 letters of the alphabet. How can she know all 26 letters of the alphabet when there are only 24?" I said no, there are 26. And he says, “Oh, well, I don't count the capitals."
13. Sun is Too Big to be a Star
“Our sun is not a star, it's the sun. The sun is big and the stars are small.”
12. A Real Winner
This girl in my history class has been the subject of many stories... She didn’t know what coal is. We were learning about the industrial revolution.
She thought William Shakespeare was a band.
She didn’t believe that the pyramids were THAT old because only 2,000 years had passed.
These are just a few examples. She is 17 years old.
She does not know how an analog clock works, found out after she asked the teacher what time it was even though there is a clock on the wall. The teacher pointed at the clock and said that she could see for herself and she responded that this type of clock was useless in modern society.
After having been in a nutrition class for two months, she asked why nutrition even mattered. She even plays sports at a fairly high level.
11. Teach Your Children Well
A former obnoxious co-worker, who loved to point out other people’s errors and pass blame, was taking inventory with another colleague. He was reading off the numbers and she was transcribing them onto the inventory paper. He told her the one count was eleven hundred. She asked him “how do you write that?” So he told her “one one zero zero.” This happened five or six more times with any number larger than three digits. She legitimately did not know how to write numbers. She was in her 30s. With children. That she wanted to homeschool.
10. Grown Up Eric Cartman?
My day has come.
I lived with a kid named Eric (not real name) my freshman year of college. Rather than waste adjectives on how strange he was, here goes:
- Eric wore, with near-exclusivity, fuzzy Kamik hiking boots, short shorts, and an orange sleeveless mesh top.
- On move-in day, Eric helped move two boxes into our dorm before leaving his parents to set up the rest of his stuff. The reason? He had to get to the gym as soon as possible. Why this was the case was not explained. He came back 20 minutes later with no visible indication he had exercised.
- Eric's parents would drive back to the dorm every two weeks to do his laundry. They lived three hours away by car. To make matters worse, Eric had no grasp of personal hygiene. He would utterly reek after sequential workouts and not showering for days, which meant his clothes and sheets did too. His dirty laundry would sit in plastic containers, waiting for mom and dad to do it for him. The smell would accumulate and ferment, creating some real biotoxic manstench. Two separate girls I tried to bring home walked in, felt their eyes start to water, and left. My Dad came for parents weekend and splashed $200 on an air purifier in hopes of getting me to survive the semester.
- Our RA decorated our dorm with fun little posters we could write on to get to know one another. One said, "What's your favorite memory from high school?" In Sharpie marker, Eric wrote three very graphic paragraphs about taking his girlfriend's virginity in a house near a waterfall and signed his name.
- Said girlfriend who would visit once or twice a month. Eric would inform me that he needed our room for the entire weekend to "let out the sexual energy." He wasn't kidding. I came home after a weekend of being a nomad on friends' couches to find a giant, CSI-sized bloodstain on his bed and a pair of panties hanging on each of his bedposts. That's four different pairs, for reference.
- One weekend, Eric's girlfriend canceled and couldn't make it up, causing him to get "depressed" and drink all the booze in my fridge. I asked if he could buy me some to replace it, to which he said: "I can't, I'm underage." When I asked for a few bucks to go and buy it myself, he replied: "That's not how capitalism works." Always wondered what he meant by that.
Anyway. The stupidity kicked in when I came back one weekend after one of Eric's 48-hour bone marathons and found that he had finished on my rug and not bothered to clean it up. This was a nice rug, really tied the room together, etc. It was the last straw. Went to student life and gave a very detailed breakdown of all of these incidents. They actually thought I was exaggerating until I walked the Dean of Housing into my room and she almost vomited from the smell. I moved out that day.
After moving out, a friend who wrote for the school paper approached me, as she was writing a fluff piece on "Roommate pairs that just don't work out." She asked if she could interview me, I said sure. I gave pretty much all the details above, but I didn't give my own name, and I certainly didn't give Eric's.
Eric, genius that he was, stormed into one of his Poli Sci 101 classes—the biggest at the school—and went on a rant about how wrong it was for me to go to the newspaper with these stories about him. Now again, to be clear, precisely no one—save for a few of my friends—would have known that this story was about him, but instead, he marched into the biggest lecture hall on campus and outed himself as a smelly-ass, non-showering, booze-stealing, woman-impaling sexual deviant.
He graduated, somehow. I wish him the best.
9. Reading Maps Wrong
One day in my Honors English class, we were bored and examining the obnoxiously old map that was still in the classroom from when it had been a history classroom. Sara looks at the map and goes, "Weird, Nevada doesn't have any roads!"
It was not a roadmap. The only lines were state borders and rivers. She thought the blue lines were roads.
She was nowhere near the dumbest person in the class.
8. If You Repeat Something Enough, It’s Right
It came from a coworker years ago. At the time, she was in her mid-forties. She was trying to explain that 9 out of 10 had to be 99% because 9 is 1 less than 10 and 99 is 1 less than 100 and 99 out of 100 is 99% so therefore 9 out of 10 is 99%. No matter how we explained it to her she was convinced she was correct and what we were saying made no sense because "99 is 1 less than 100 and 9 is 1 less than 10."
7. Spoon-Eating Acid
My friends and I were making drinks one night. I don't remember what drinks they were but it involved fizzy soda and stirring.
I grab a spoon and start stirring and my friend looks at me, horrified. She says "Stop!" I look at her confused. She continues, "You can't use a spoon!" I laugh and ask why not. She says "The acid from the pop will eat away the spoon, you have to use a fork so it can pass through the slots."
6. Driving on Overdrive
I knew a young woman who drove her car with the overdrive switch in the off position. Her car's engine screamed in agony, begging to go to fourth gear, while driving on the highway ten miles under the speed limit. She hated that car because, according to her, it was too loud and too slow so I explained to her how to fix the problem by pushing a single button. She refused my help because it was her daddy's car and her father had told her that the Overdrive Off lamp meant that the overdrive was on.
There was no arguing with him, because he was the kind of man who equated financial success with being an expert at everything, and he was loaded. The "Oh, if you know so much about X then why aren't you as wealthy as me?"-type. To this day I haven't met another man who was so wrong about so many things and yet so cocksure of himself.
5. It Takes Hard Work to be a Doctor
A private once told me that if he got out of the military, he wouldn’t go to college because his dad would hire him on as a janitor at the hospital he worked at, and as long as he worked hard, he would get promoted to be a doctor one day.
4. Fast Food Ditz
One of my first jobs was at a fast food restaurant. Parents were always making their kids get applications so they could work a summer job. One kid in particular sticks out. She came from a very wealthy family and technically didn't need the job, but her parents wanted her to have a first-hand account of what it was like to work a customer service job. She was about as ditzy as could be, though.
One night, she stayed late to close the dining room, part of which required her to clean the restrooms. When I told her this, she started gagging saying "I can't do it! It is too gross!" I told her it really wasn't that bad and that she needed to get the cleaning caddy from the mop room, spray down the sink, refill the paper goods, use the toilet brush to clean the toilet, and then mop. She put on her brave face and proceeded.
Shortly after, I hear this full-on horror house screaming coming from the bathroom. She comes running out, gagging and crying. I asked what happened and she starts bawling about getting toilet water in her mouth. I asked her how, and she said she was scrubbing the toilet with the "Rubber brush thing" and it splashed back in her face. I go into the bathroom to see what is up, and it turns out she was using the plunger to clean the toilet.
I also taught this girl that when someone gives her a $20 bill or higher that she needs to use the counterfeit marker. If it stays yellow, the bill is good. If it turns dark brown, then the bill is bad and she needed to let me know.
After her shift, I pull her register to count it and every single $20 was marked with a dark black mark. I stopped counting and asked her why the bills were marked with a black mark and she replied: "I couldn't find the special marker you gave me, so I just used a Sharpie."
3. Drugs Can’t Kill
Work in a college with a good Nursing program. Heard a girl tell her classmate "I don't know why they make us memorize all this crap about different drugs. I mean, it's not like we are going to kill anyone if we give them the wrong medication." And her friend agreed.
2. Is There Life on Mars?
Was at a movie theater watching The Martian with some friends. One of them turns to me and 100% honestly asks "Did they film this ON Mars??".
No. They most definitely did not.
1. Like Mother, Like Daughter
My first year of college I met a girl and we became fairly close. She lived nearby so we’d spend time with her family for free meals and whatnot. One day, we’re sitting in her living room with her mother, and besides the obvious 20 year age gap, they looked nearly identical.
Discussing getting into the bars, my friend says, “Mom, I’ll just use your ID and they won’t even notice. We look the same.” I tell her that won’t work, her mother’s ID says her birth year and my friend most definitely does not look 40.
My friend’s mother thinks for a minute and says, “Oh, I have an old ID from when I was 21, you could use that one.” My friend agrees and they talk about how smart their plan is... they were both equally stumped when I reminded them that just because she got the ID when she was 21 doesn’t mean the birth date would be any different.